The first store in the four-store test opened Wednesday in Boston's financial district. Before Oct. 23, Staples plans to open stores in Boston's Back Bay, and two suburban Massachusetts locations.
With an average of 4,000 square feet--compared to the 20,000 square feet of the typical suburban Staples--the shops will also offer a small selection of office products, WiFi capabilities, laptop stations, "and anything else we think a mobile professional might need," said a spokeswoman.
While Staples is in the midst of a major growth spurt--recently announcing that it expects a gain of 15 percent to 20 percent in the year ahead--it will likely find the new market highly competitive, and tough sledding.
Several weeks ago, FedEx Corp. announced that quarterly revenue in its FedEx Kinko's segment fell 3 percent, and that operating income fell 38 percent, due to decreased consumer demand. And that company announced a new store format, focusing on lower costs.